6 Updated Tips on How to Avoid Calamity on Travel: In recent years, a hot-air balloon exploded over Luxor, Egypt, killing 19 tourists and critically injuring the pilot and remaining survivor. Press accounts raised questions as to both maintenance and piloting skills.
Luxor is the heart of ancient Egypt. It is famous for its Valley of the Kings where the Pharaohs are buried. One such tomb, the Temple of Hatshepsut, was the site of another tragedy in Nov. 1997, when at least 70 tourists were slain by militants.
The statistical likelihood of such disasters is much less than commonplace highway injuries or fatalities. However, a quick Internet search or two can reduce further the chance of getting in harm’s way.
6 Updated Tips on How to Avoid Calamity on Travel: Check out your providers:
If you plan to take a local tour by balloon, helicopter or small plane, major vendors will have websites that you can cross reference with safety records. Aside from the latter, if your search shows the company is in real financial trouble, their pilots and maintenance are going to be suspect.
6 Updated Tips on How to Avoid Calamity on Travel: Look at the political environment:
One of Egypt’s leading newspapers, El Ahram, just before the hot-air balloon explosion, raising safety concerns. It stated that ports and shipping are feeling the brunt of unrest. As a result, the public sector infrastructure is unlikely to be routinely inspected, and private corporate minimum safety requirements may fall by the wayside.
6 Updated Tips on How to Avoid Calamity on Travel: Consider the terrain and weather conditions:
- If you go to Alaska, planes may be the only way from one place to the next. A storm can cause delays and create hazards. In contrast, if you fly in southern African with long droughts, sudden storms are not frequent. Flat grasslands can make for a runway in a pinch.
- In deserts or remote places, know how to change a flat tire. Take lots of water.
- Know your cell phone may not work in all cases.
- In the Alps, snow and ice can be a danger even in June! Take warm clothes and basic food and water. Again, cell coverage may not be possible.
- Hike, ski or dive with a buddy. As a solo, you can join a day tour, a semi-private lesson or sports group to avoid being stuck without a “wing man” in case of an accident.
6 Updated Tips on How to Avoid Calamity on Travel: Consider health and travel insurance:
Even if you are in excellent health, you may have an accident on the slopes or mopeds. If you walk on a broken ankle you may remember the trip for all the wrong reasons.
- Check to see if your health insurance works abroad.
- Take a look at travel insurance.
- See if either excludes specific sports.
6 Updated Tips on How to Avoid Calamity on Travel: Surf the Internet for local laws:
In certain countries, if you have an accident, you may be subject to arrest.
- Before you leave home, find out the rules of the road.
- See what kind of license you need.
- Check into car insurance.
- Be sure to find out what prescriptions and over the counter drugs are illegal abroad.
- If you need a visa, read it. Some countries have special additions.
6 Updated Tips on How to Avoid Calamity on Travel: Have access to funds from home in an emergency:
Before going abroad, designate a point man who can forward funds to you, if needed.
- In some countries, hospitals and doctors must be paid cash each day.
- Don’t just assume credit cards are accepted.
Safety is not really a question of luck but planning ahead and using good judgment. With a little preparation, most calamities can be avoided or dealt with if they arise.